CBO: ObamaCare premiums to rise 15 percent in 2019

CBO: ObamaCare premiums to rise 15 percent in 2019
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ObamaCare premiums are expected to rise an average of 15 percent next year, an increase largely due to the GOP’s repeal of the law's individual mandate, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released Wednesday.

The CBO estimates that gutting the requirement that Americans have health insurance or face a tax penalty will contribute to about a 10 percent rise in premiums for 2019, with insurers expected to see healthier people dropping out of the marketplaces, leaving sicker enrollees on the plans.

The nonpartisan agency attributed the rest of the expected increase to rising health-care costs and the lack of insurers receiving a key ObamaCare payment compensating them for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs for certain enrollees.

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The price hikes don’t affect the majority of people with ObamaCare plans, as lower-income Americans receive federal subsidies to help cover their insurance.

Political rhetoric surrounding ObamaCare premiums has escalated in recent weeks as several states have unveiled proposed rate hikes, including some by double digits.

Both parties are scrambling to blame the other for the expected increases, which won’t be finalized until early fall — about a month before the November midterm elections.

Democrats argue the price hikes are the result of GOP efforts to sabotage ObamaCare, pointing to the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE signed into law in December.

Republicans contend that Democrats were the ones who passed the health-care law in the first place, without any GOP support. They blame Democrats for the failure to pass a bill to shore up the ObamaCare exchanges, though Democrats protest that characterization of why the legislation wasn’t able to become law.

CBO also projected that there will be 3 million more uninsured people between 2018 and 2019, largely due to the repeal of the individual mandate and higher premiums.

The agency estimated the ObamaCare marketplaces will be “stable in most areas of the country” over the next decade, yet that “stability may be fragile in some places.”